After a setback in the series opener, the Miami Hurricanes (6-5) bounced back in the final two games to win their second series of the season over the Elon Phoenix (5-4).
Although lefthander Manny Miguelez lasted just three innings on Sunday, right-hander Jason Santana provided the Hurricanes a big lift when he inherited a bases loaded jam and no outs. Trailing 2-1 in the top of the fourth, Santana retired three consecutive batters without allowing a run to score.
“[Santana] was our player of the game today,” Head Coach Jim Morris said. “He came in and pitched great. That definitely was the turning point of the game.”
The Hurricanes would respond with two runs in the bottom of the fourth, sparked by right fielder Dennis Raben’s first RBI of the season, a double to left-center field. Second baseman Jemile Weeks would work a bases loaded walk to put the Hurricanes up for good, as they tacked on additional runs late for the 6-3 win.
Santana picked up his second victory of the season in relief, throwing three hitless innings.
On Saturday, Miami used a 10-run first inning and a season-high 16 hits to cruise to a 17-4 victory.
Lefthander Eric Erickson made the most out of his first career start, throwing five innings, allowing one run and striking out a career-high six.
Erickson replaced Danny Gil in the starting rotation and will remain a weekend starter after a strong performance.
The Sarasota native consistently threw first pitch strikes and mixed his cutter and curveball very effectively by using both sides of the plate.
“I was excited about my first start today,” Erickson said. “I had to fight to keep my concentration up because we had such a big lead, but I did the best I could and I am glad to get the win.”
Miami also protected first baseman Yonder Alonso this weekend, getting production from the middle of the lineup.
Leftfielder Dave DiNatale went 4-for-9 in the series with 4 RBIs, while third baseman Mark Sobolewski was the hottest hitter this weekend, reaching base nine straight times beginning on Friday. Sobolewski went 8-for-14 with a remarkable 10 RBIs over three games.
Elon, though, won the series opener on Friday in a 10-7 victory.
Miami lefthander Scott Maine was roughed up in his third start of the season, throwing 3 2/3 innings while giving up nine hits and eight runs. The southpaw surrendered a three-run homerun in the first inning to designated hitter Robert Rodebaugh, who would add a two-run double in a three-run fourth inning to force Maine from the game.
Miami answered with three runs in the bottom of the first but would strand runners on base in key situations. Centerfielder Blake Tekotte struck out twice with the bases loaded in the first two innings, as the Hurricanes left 11 men on base for the game.
As for the bullpen, reliever Enrique Garcia pitched three scoreless innings, while Gil pitched an inning and allowed one run in the series.
Morris has made the decision on what roles relievers will have late in games.
“Gil is our closer and Garcia is our setup guy,” Morris said. “Raben is our lefthander in the end and is definitely an important part of our bullpen.”
Alex Kushel may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.